FAQ

Do I Qualify For Treatment?

In order to qualify for treatment at ALTR, a person must

Be at least 18 years old.

Have a valid state issued ID or driver’s license

Provide evidence of a history of opioid dependency lasting for no less than one year

Be in active withdrawal (unless pregnant)

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines medication (to help stabilize the imbalance of chemicals in the brain) and behavioral therapies to treat addiction. Once stable, a patient is more likely able to focus and participate in the behavioral therapies necessary to overcome addiction. Methadone and Buprenorphine ( or Suboxone ) are two medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of opiate addiction.

A common misconception is that these medications are only substitutes for the drugs they were using, and that the patient is “trading one addiction for another.” However, addiction is caused by a chemical problem in the brain which is usually there before the person ever uses a drug. Drugs of abuse cause this problem to worsen. However, methadone and Suboxone help to correct the chemical imbalance and restore natural function of the brain . These medications help control cravings and the psychological compulsions to use drugs. At proper doses these medications do not adversely effect mental capability, physical function or intelligence, and the patient doesn’t feel a euphoria or high associated with drugs of abuse. They also alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Are these medications safe:

The FDA has approved both Methadone and Suboxone for use in the treatment of opiate addiction. Methadone’s safety and effectiveness has been documented for over 50 years and Suboxone has been used safely and effectively for nearly 20 years. However, wit h any medication there are pros and cons . Methadone and Suboxone act on the opiate receptor to stabilize brain chemistry. Since they are long acting they help to release a chemical called dopamine and normalize the levels. Drugs of abuse cause spikes and crashes of dopamine that only worsen and reinforce addiction. Since these medications act on the opiate receptor a patient remains physically dependent on opiates, however, this is NOT addiction. The addiction is corrected by normalizing dopamine levels. At the correct dose the patient does n ot experience opiate withdrawal and those symptoms are suppressed.

All medications have potential for some adverse effects. Methadone and Suboxone can possibly cause respiratory depression (slowed breathing) when combined with sedatives or alcohol or if taken at higher doses than prescribed . These medications can also be dangerous to people who are not opiate dependent or children so great care must be followed to keep all medications locked away in a safe storage area.

The most common adverse effects of these medications are shared with other opiates, but can likely be avoided with correct dosing. These include constipation, sweating, hot flashes, nausea, dr y mouth , has been associated with low testosterone.

Methadone remains the treatment of choice for women who are pregnant and addicted to opiates as it decreases the risk of miscarriage and transmission of HIV or Hepatitis . Methadone should be initiated, monitored and adjusted throughout the entire pregnancy to ensure no symptoms of opiate withdrawal are present. Buprenorphine has also shown to be effective in the treatment of opiate addiction in pregnant women, but should be reserved for women who become pregnant while already on this medicine Neither medication has been reported to

How long does treatment take?

Like diabetes and high blood pressure, addiction is a chronic, progressive illness. This means there is no cure and it gets worse as you get older. However, like diabetes and high blood pressure there is effective management with medications and lifestyle changes.

Research shows that people who stay in treatment longer do better. Treatment is individualized to the needs of each patient. You should discuss your specific treatment goals with your physician, and together you can review the risk versus benefits of each treatment option for your particular plan.

What is Opiate Addiction?

Opiates are drugs that activate receptors in the brain to decrease pain sensation, but can provide a euphoria (high) for those who abuse them. Examples of opiates are Heroin, Morphine, Lortab, Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, Dilaudid, Percocet, Codeine, and Fentanyl .

Opiate addiction is a chronic disease of the brain involving damage or dysfunction of these brain receptors and is characterized by cravings, an inability abstain, and behavioral control impairment

Is MAT right for you?

Methadone and Suboxone are proven to be safe and effective treatments for opiate addiction.

Methadone and Suboxone control cravings and compulsions, alleviate withdrawal symptoms and restores natural brain function.

Employability and social function often improve with MAT.

MAT reduces the chance of acquiring or spreading communicable diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C.

MAT decreases the likelihood of legal problems or incarceration.

The cost of MAT is less than the cost associated with opiate drug use and the consequences associated with such.

Call today and join the millions of people who have improved their lives b y conquering the menace of opiate addiction with MAT. After meeting with our physician you can decide together which medication is best for you